Royal West African Frontier Force

Front cover: Journal of the Royal West African Frontier Force v.1, no. 1, July 2011

The Journal of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) was launched in July 2011, filling a gap in the research literature.

Published twice a year (v.1, no. 2 came out in January 2012), the journal may interest military historians and historians of West Africa, as well as family historians with links to the RWAFF.

Editor, Keith Steward, has ensured that the often short articles are well referenced, and illustrated by photographs and detailed maps, where appropriate.

In Issue 2 articles include the Cairo to Kano Aeroplane Flight, November 1st 1925 (the story behind the first plane to land in Nigeria), notes on Major Seth Anthony MBE (1915–2008), the first African soldier to attain King’s commissioned rank in the Royal West African Frontier Force, and part 2 of Brian O’Gorman’s ‘Gone for Bush’—his recollections of daily life in the RWAFF.  A rather longer article, ‘White City, Major-General Orde Wingate’s Special Chindit Force, Burma 1944′ documents the Chindits’ mission in Burma, and is included because the Chindits, who were trained to infiltrate behind Japanese lines, included many West African servicemen.

The journal is available in the Library’s West Room, classmark L559.b.109 [pigeon hole: T.4].


  • Do you have the subscription details?

    • The journal is available directly from the Editor, Keith Steward, to whom I have forwarded your enquiry. Individuals subscribe @ £10 + postage, preferably for two issues.

      • George Blundell-Pound

        Hi Rachel

        My dear old dad was in the RWAFF Gold Coast Regiment and I have a few pictures that maybe helpful and would like to catch up on reading!

        • Dear George,

          I have forwarded your enquiry to the editor of the journal, Keith Steward, who will be very interested to hear about your father.

  • My sister and I recently gave the Imperial War Museum our father’s memories of his time spent in West Africa and Burma with the Royal West African Frontier Force. It is available to view to the general public in their research and collections room. His record includes personal photographs,newspaper articles, railway tickets, theatre programme, insignia, correspondence etc. I should be delighted to receive a copy of the above journal please.
    Diana Martin

  • Long awaited I hope all available materials fall in place gradually.
    A great untold and poorly narrated experience to the descendants.
    In The Gambia the frontier forces transformed to the Gambia Field Force..
    The War Cemetry is situated at Fajara.
    I am interested in the publication..

    Modou Sarho.

  • The journal is available directly from the Editor, Keith Steward, to whom I have forwarded your enquiry.

  • I have a tankard with the RWA FF arms engraved on it together with 41 MTR RGT WAA 1945. I know my father the late James Wright fought out in Burma at that time as a Staff Captain as a gunner I also have pictures of the troop ships and of the camps out there. I also have his Burma Star medal still in the box it was sent in! I guess that I have some good information about this “lost” part of the war.

    • Dear Christopher
      I shall pass on your message to Keith Steward, Editor of the Journal of the Royal West African Frontier Force, as I expect he would be most interested in making contact with you.
      Kind regards
      Rachel Rowe

  • trying to locate a west African frontier force association as my father now 90 was a member.

    • I have forwarded your email to Keith Steward, editor and founder (in 2011) of the Journal of the Royal West African Frontier Force, who will, I am sure, wish to make contact with you.

  • mike maccarthy morrogh

    Trying to make contact with Keith Steward with a view to offering him a diary of a WAFF officer from 1901-06. Other WAFF websites tell us to email him directly, but give no email address.
    Thanks for your help.

  • The father of a good friend of mine served in the Royal Artillery/Manchester Regiment (does he mean the ‘Manchester Artillery, currently 103 Reserve Regiment RA), but was also with the RWAFF in India and Burma. Could he have been attached to the 81st or 82nd (West African) Divisions? He is now 94 and increasingly infirm. Born 1922.

    • I have forwarded your enquiry to Keith Steward, Editor of the Journal of the Royal West African Frontier Force, who will, I am sure, wish to make contact with you and may be able to answer your query re. Divisions.

  • Adewemimo Adebajo

    Please can i get copies of any journal with articles (and photographs) with respect to aviation activities of the WAFF in Nigeria?

    • I have forwarded your enquiry to the editor of the journal, Keith Steward, who replies that he has information on the first plane to land in Kano in 1928 and the air route for delivering spitfires to the western desert via Khartoum from Takoradi.

  • Colonel Anthony Bennett

    My wife’s father, Major I N Kendal, DFC, Royal Artillery served in the WAAF in Nigeria in the late 1940s. We would welcome details of the existence of a WAAF association – if such a thing still exists!

  • My father served with the 82nd regiment in Burma and is currently writing his memoirs (he is 91). Please could you send details of how to subscribe to the journal as this would be of huge interest to him. Many thanks.

  • My father, Norman Turner O.B.E was in the Colonial Service in Nigeria for about 30 years, retiring in 1958 on Nigeria’s Independence. During the Second World War he served with the SOUTHERN NIGERIA REGIMENT of the WEST AFRICAN FRONTIER FORCE. I am trying to find out more about the details of his service, his rank etc and was very interested to learn of the existence of the WAFF Journal. I would be most grateful to be put in touch with the Editor to see if he could help me in my search. I have several artefacts of my father relating to the WAFF such as photos of him in uniform, uniform buttons, a WAFF palm tree brooch ( exactly like the one on the cover of the journal) and a brass figurine of a WAFF soldier in uniform – which my father always said was from the Officer’s Mess and was something he treasured. These artefacts may be of interest to the team at the journal.

    • Dear Carol,

      I have forwarded your enquiry to the editor of the journal, Keith Steward, who will be very interested to hear about your father.

  • Richard C Harris

    My fathers autobiography is just being printed, during the last war he served in Sierra Leone with the R.W.A.F.F. as a CQMS.. He did’nt get home till after VE day.

    • Many thanks for sending Cambridge University Library a copy of your father’s autobiography – The days before yesterday / Ron Harris. Pen & Ink publishing, 2017. I am sure it will be of great interest to many of our readers.

  • Kathleen Alfin

    Hello! I am a graduate student of African history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am just starting my thesis research with two daughters of veterans of the RWAFF during the Second World War. I would love to subscribe to the journal so as to further understand secondary literature about this military organization, as well as potentially connect about some people and primary sources that my be relevant to my research. How do I go about subscribing?

  • Dear Kathleen
    The journal is available directly from the Editor, Keith Steward, to whom I have forwarded your enquiry. I am sure he will be delighted to hear from you, and learn about your research.

  • I am trying to trace details concerning my father Sgt Albert Elsy who served in the RWAFF during WW2. he apparently was in Nigeria where the troops were assembled, then sailed to India landing at Cox’s bazaar (an island off the western side of India (apparently got malaria which affected him all his life), before travelling to Burma for the duration of the war in that theatre. Unfortunately all his badges (a spider in black on yellow background as I recall as a child) and metal brass Sgt’s stripes on khaki tie on, slouch hat with palm tree insignia etc.. were all stolen, as were training book, photos. So I have little to go on as to what he was involved in. Like all ex soldiers he never really talked about his experiences. all I have are medals. Any insight as to the RWAFF would be great.

  • Dear Sir / Madam
    My Father , ERIC George Butterworth served with the Royal West African Frontier Force during the war , not sure where he was stationed , I think that he was a Company Sergeant Major, he is now deceased and I was wondering whether you have any information on where he may have served .
    Thanking you in anticipation.
    Eric Butterworth

  • My grandad George William Austin was a CQMS in the Royal Wessex regiment and served in the RWAFF during the war. I have all of his photographs which contain a huge amount of interesting footage. I would very much like to find out more about him and also share the photographs if they are of interest.

  • Dear Sir/Madam,
    I would like to thank you for the wonderful job you have done by commencing the publication of this journal. My late father, Hyacinth N. Meze served in Burma. He originated from the part of West Africa that is Nigeria today.
    I would be grateful if I could lay my hands on his service records, photographs and any other material that would be useful for my research. I would like to find out if the journals would be made available in libraries outside England. I live in Scotland.
    Thank you.
    Sincerely yours,
    Hyacinth C. Meze.

  • Pauline Elliott

    Am trying to research Herbert Edward Hines on behalf of my mother in law. I have some photos of him wearing RWAFF uniform and also of him in Africa. He was born 26.01.1913 and was awarded the DCM and Military Medal. I believe he was involved with Chindits in Burma. Captured by the Japanese, spent time as a POW. Invalided out of the army. Would just like more information.

  • To Rachel Rowe,
    I have recently acquired numerous pieces of ephemera relating to the West African Frontier Force for the period 1920-1928.
    These all relate to one man’s service in Nigeria over this period.
    I am willing to share this.
    How do I contact Keith Steward? and obtain the journal’s?
    Iain Jarvis.

  • Janet (Blair) Coleman

    My Dad also served in Burma in the RWAFF – the Sierra Leonne Regiment. Sadly, he died at age 95 in 2013, but I have pictures of his British comrades and African solders he fought with – as well as letters they wrote to him after the war. Beautifully written. Also, a picture of a jungle grave site of a British soldier and tribute written by my father for that brave young soldier. Is there any way to find out a list of his fellow soldiers? I hate to think Dad’s memory of that fine young man will die with me one day. My Dad was mentioned in dispatches and had a trip to Simla as a reward for bravery according to my mother. I know nothing more. Is there a way I can find out what he did? Mother told me many years ago (she died in 1985) he had some medals or something but they are long lost and he never spoke of them. Thank you so much for any assistance. His name was Douglas William George Blair

    • Dear Janet,

      I will send you the contact details of the RWAFF journal editor, who may be able to help.

      Best wishes,


  • My father served in Nigeria with the RWAFF during WW2. He was on the troopship “Orbita” when she broke down off Aden. Sadly he was then admitted to hospital with a heart condition and was invalided out of the army in 1945. He died in 1950 but I have a collection of his photographs and letters which he sent to his sister,my aunt. I treasure them.
    On the BBC Remembrance Day programme this year (2019) a Nigerian veteran of the RWAFF was featured, to my interest.
    I would very much like to be put in touch with the RWAFF journal editor.

  • George Robert Dickins – WW1 Medals
    He was my fathers brother. Misspelling of Dickens instead of Dickins not unusual.
    Private George R. Dickens, 7th Battalion London Regiment entered the France/Flanders theatre of war on 18 March 1915. As a Lance-Corporal with the the battalion he was awarded the M.M. for bravery in the field. Later as a Serjeant on attachment with the Nigeria Regiment, W.A.F.F., he died in Nigeria on 11 January 1919, aged 22 years. He was buried in the Zungeru Cemetery, Nigeria. He was the son of George and Annie Dickens of 188 Old Street, London.
    I would say this is quite an unusual history due to the time spent in Nigeria which according to a map (I have a copy) from a book about the Zungeru Colonial Settlement. This appears to be about guarding an important railway/road junction presumably from the Germans who had colonies in Africa.

    Military Medal, G.V.R. (2662 L. Cpl., 1/7 Lond. R.) with ornate silver pin-backed top bar; 1914-15 Star (2662 Pte., 7-Lond. R.); British War and Victory Medals (2662 Sjt., 7-Lond. R.).

    He is mentioned on page 81 of History of the 7th Battalion.

    Listed on the St Lukes School (Old Street) Roll of Honour.

    The Islington Museum seems to have no interest in securing his medals and I am looking for somewhere to donate them.

    Any ideas?

  • please arrange to get me a copy oif the journal

    • Dear Len,

      I will send you the contact details of the editor of the RWAFF journal, who will be interested to hear about your uncle and can arrange for a subscription.

      Best wishes, John

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